1,200 could lose Saints season tickets

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by Bigad Shaban / Eyewitness News

wwltv.com

Posted on March 18, 2010 at 10:26 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 19 at 10:06 PM

NEW ORLEANS - For Who Dats, there are certain things you just don't forget: The brilliant combo of black and gold, the hysteria that lead up to the team's first Super Bowl win and where you grew up watching the Saints.

Natahan Riemer has been a life long Saints fan and a season ticket holder for the last 10 years, but he just found out his coveted seat inside the Superdome won't be there this season.

"It's the Claiborne side last full row of the dome on the 50-yard line, Saints sideline, it's right up there," said Riemer.

"I wanted to cry," he said after learning he was losing his tickets. "I was extremely upset."

On Thursdsay, Saints Box Office employees began calling close to 1,200 season ticket holders to let them know their seats are disappearing in order to make room for a new press box.  The old press box is being replaced with 16 new suites.

And it's those sitting in the upper rows within sections 639, 640, and 641 who are being forced to give up their seats.

"We're working with those folks one-on-one and we take it very seriously," said Michael Stanfield, vice-president of ticket & suite sales. "The fan is number one, without the fan, we're not here in new Orleans."
The Saints organization says while the wait list for season tickets is already 50,000-people long, the season ticket holders who are being displaced will be moved to the front of the line.

They'll only be able to score seats, however, if other season ticket holders choose not to renew their seats.
 
"Coming off of how successful this team was and the way this team has really woven into this city's fabric, the people really got behind this franchise during this season and to say you can't come back next year to watch, that's just going to be crushing and there's no real great way to spin it," said Roland Gau, consumer behavior professor at Tulane University.

But the Saints say they think they'll be able to accommodate everyone. Some fans aren't so sure in the wake of an unforgettable season and a Super Bowl win.

"It was one of the greatest feelings in my life," said Riemer, "and then today I find out that I might not be able to see the banner drop that Thursday first game of the year."

Both, memories not soon forgotten, Riemer and his fiancé, Emily, just hope they can learn to forget today's news by getting back into the Super Dome.

"You don't sit in your seat most of the time. They wouldn't have to give me a seat, they'd just have to let me sit in the Dome, I know right!"
 
The Saints have yet to set a deadline for when season ticket holders must decide whether they want to renew their seats, but the Saints say it will come within the few weeks, and that, of course, is when the 1,200 or so other season ticket holders will find out if there are any seats left over.  By the end of the week, Saints Box Office employees hope to finish contacting each of the affected season ticket holders.

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